BMW Team PTG M3s Will Start 3rd, 6th and 8th in 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant Joey Hand, driving the No. 16 BMW Team PTG F1 Air M3, was the quickest of the three BMW Team PTG M3s in today's 15-minute qualifying session for tomorrow's 6...
BMW Team PTG M3s Will Start 3rd, 6th and 8th in 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant
Joey Hand, driving the No. 16 BMW Team PTG F1 Air M3, was the quickest of the three BMW Team PTG M3s in today's 15-minute qualifying session for tomorrow's 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant. His lap of 1:39.648 minutes around the 2.65-mile, 15-turn circuit was good enough for the third GT class starting position. Foreshadowing a very competitive race, Hand's time was only .107 seconds off the pole; the top-10 qualifiers are within one second.
Kelly Collins, driving the No. 21 BMW Team PTG F1 Air M3, qualified sixth (1:40.058) and Ian James set the eighth fastest time in the No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3 (1:40.272).
This weekend Hand will co-drive the No. 16 M3 with Tom Milner and Justin Marks, winners at the Road and Track 250 at Laguna Seca three weeks ago. Bill Auberlen, who shared the Laguna Seca win with Milner and Marks, will co-drive the No. 21 M3 with Kelly Collins and RJ Valentine. James will co-drive the No. 22 M3 with Chris Gleason. Hand is named to drive the No. 22 M3, as well.
BMW Team PTG is bringing a two-win streak to Mont-Tremblant, winning the Grand American 400 at California Speedway on April 3, and sweeping the GT podium at the May 1 Road and Track 250 at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. As the result of a recent rules adjustment, this weekend, each M3 is carrying an additional 100 pounds.
Last season, Boris Said and Bill Auberlen took their third win in a row at Mont-Tremblant, as BMW Team PTG raced to a record seven wins in a row. That win took Said and Auberlen to the top of the points, but this year, after poor performances in the opening two rounds of the championship, only two BMW Team PTG drivers stand in the top-10 in Driver points. Auberlen stands fourth and Hand is fifth. Despite gaining seven points at Laguna Seca, BMW trails by 35 in Manufacturer points.
The 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant is scheduled to begin at 11:00 AM ET tomorrow and will televised live on Speed Channel.
JOEY HAND, DRIVER NO. 16 BMW TEAM PTG F1 AIR M3 (third):
"We have been tuning on this M3 and we are keeping up with the changing track conditions. If we need to squeeze a bit more speed out of it, I think we can. If we need a lot more we may have some trouble. We will just have to work harder. I really enjoy driving this track and it was good to me last year. Hopefully, it will be the same this year."
KELLY COLLINS, DRIVER NO. 21 BMW TEAM PTG F1 AIR M3 (sixth):
"That was about as fast as I could go. I don't know if it was the tires or the tire pressures, but I am leaning towards thinking that the tire pressures were not optimum. I had trouble getting off the last corner and I could not quite get to my shift lights, meaning that I had to short shift the last two shifts coming onto the front straight."
IAN JAMES, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (eighth):
"We changed tires between the last practice session and qualifying and the car picked up a bad understeer. It is disappointing because the M3 was so good before this. There is just a bit of an imbalance, probably just that set of tires."